Because of their mysterious nature, many myths and old wives' tales circulate about cats. Here are a few of the more common ones and the facts behind the fiction.
Myth 1: A spayed or neutered cat will become fat and lazy. Not true! A cat's weight gain is not related to his or her reproductive status. Any cat who does not get the proper amount of exercise or who is overfed will become overweight and sluggish. Spaying or neutering is beneficial to your pet. Cats and kittens that have been spayed or neutered live longer, do not stray from home and become more affectionate.
Myth 2: My female cat must have a litter of kittens before she is spayed, otherwise, she will become unfriendly. False! Females who are spayed before they have kittens do not miss being mothers. In fact, some cats are not good mothers and may resent their kittens. One cat and her offspring can produce approximately 420,000 cats in seven years. With millions of unwanted kittens and cats euthanized in animal shelters each year, there is no reason to add to the pet overpopulation problem.
Myth 3: Cats belong outside. Indoor cats suffer or become bored if they are never allowed to go outside to hunt and explore. Not true! Indoor only cats thrive in the home. Given the proper amount of attention and affection, your cat will not miss being outside. Cats and kittens can learn to walk on leashes to safely experience the outdoors, and most are content to observe nature from a window. Cats who are allowed to roan outside do not live as long as indoor cats because they are subject to many hazards, such as traffic, diseases, and toxic poisons.
Myth 4: Cats always land on their feet when they fall. This myth is partially true. Cats have excellent reflexes and can right themselves quickly. They have a flexible backbone, and as mentioned earlier, can rotate half of their spine 180 degrees. This trait, combined with a fluid filled chamber in the ears, helps a cat to right himself if he falls. If a cat falls one or two stories, he usually will right himself and may only receive mild injuries. However, falling from three to six floors is usually fatal because the velocity from this distance is too great, although some cats have survived a seven or eight floor drop. In this circumstance, the extra time involved in the fall allows the cat to right himself, spread out his feet, and relax, thus creating drag resistance to slow him down.
Cats and kittens come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Although approximately 100 different breeds exist, they all share the same basic body structure. Nature designed cats perfectly. Their bodies, sense organs, and natural instincts enable them to hunt and survive in the wild with no help from humans. Surprisingly the domestic cat that we know and love today is not much different from his wild "big cat" cousins, the lions and tigers. Although our house cats are much smaller in size and cannot roar, they have retained many similar physical characteristics.